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Arrest made, charge filed in Friday fire

The Mitchell Police Division has arrested Robert Pomani for reckless burning in connection with a residential fire last week.

Early Friday morning, firefighters with the Mitchell Fire Division responded to reports of the smell of smoke at 615 W. Fourth Ave in Mitchell. Suspicious burn patterns were discovered at the residence during the ensuing fire investigation.

The home, owned by Joel Ward, was for sale and has been declared a total loss, according to officials with the Mitchell Fire Division. No one was injured in the fire.

Detective Lt. Don Everson said Pomani, 32, of Mitchell, is friends with Ward.

“It appears that this fire may have been caused by Pomani to get even with Ward for a report that Ward made hours before the fire,” Everson said. “Ward had reported an assault between Pomani and another person and also had reported drug activity involving Pomani and others. We believe that might be an underlying cause of what happened.”

According to the Mitchell Police Division, Pomani walked through the residence with a lit candle in a glass container. He allegedly told police that he set the candle down in the attached garage and placed paper on top of the candle to extinguish the candle, police reported. He then left the residence. Pomani also claimed to have worked as a fireman in the past, according to police.

Investigators with the Mitchell Police Division, Mitchell Fire Division, state Division of Criminal Investigation and State Fire Marshal’s Office were on the scene Friday.

Reckless burning is a class 4 felony, punishable upon conviction by 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $20,000.

Pomani has an extensive criminal record dating to 1999.

Most recently, he pleaded guilty in January to impersonation to deceive a law enforcement officer. In September 2012, he pleaded guilty to simple assault and entering or refusing to leave.